The Cincinnati Reds kept the bats of the Pittsburgh Pirates quiet Wednesday, as they shut out the Bucs 3-0 at PNC Park.
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The crew of the Jolly Roger dropped their fifth in a row and their seventh in eight games. The Pirates (12-15) have gone 3-for-37 with runners in scoring position in those losses.
It was a tough night along the North Shore for Gerrit Cole as he surrendered three earned runs over five innings. He struck out four and walked two. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound righthander hurled 55 of his 91 pitches for strikes as he recorded his first loss against four victories.
The Reds collected a 2-0 lead in the fourth. With nobody out, Brandon Phillips singled on a soft ground ball to third that scored Todd Frazier. Starting pitcher Mike Leake helped his cause with a ground-rule double on a line drive to left that brought home Phillips.
Marlon Byrd homered for the third consecutive game to lead off the fifth when he sent a fly ball over the wall in center. It was his fifth home run this season.
Leake (2-1) was in control over his eight innings as he scattered six hits. He struck out two and walked none. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound righthander delivered 71 of his 101 pitches for strikes. His shutout streak stands at 16 innings.
Aroldis Chapman kept the Pirates off the scoreboard in the ninth in route to claiming his sixth save this season.
There was excitement when Cincinnati’s Joey Votto was thrown out of the contest. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound first baseman was called out on strikes in the third. He proceeded to fling his bat, and spike his helmet after being rung up by home plate umpire Chris Conroy. He turned his back on Conroy and yelled toward Cole in the Bucs’ dugout and did not see the umpire eject him.
Votto did not realize that he had been ejected and was heading out to take his position at first before being told he was tossed. It was then he charged at Conroy, making contact, and had to be restrained by manager Bryan Price. He could be facing further discipline charges after bumping Conroy.
The one bright spot for the Pirates was the performance of the bullpen against the Reds. Rob Scahill allowed only one hit in pitching the sixth and seventh. Arquimedes Caminero answered the call next and permitted only one hit in the eighth. Tony Watson closed it out in the ninth by not giving up a hit. The 6-foot-4, 227 pound lefthander fired 10 of his 14 pitches for strikes.
Up Next: The Pirates and Reds wrap up their three-game set Thursday. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Cincinnati (14-13) will send righthander Anthony DeSclafani (2-2, 2.03 ERA) to the hill, and the Bucs will counter with A.J. Burnett (0-1, 1.45 ERA).
The 38-year-old will be making his sixth start of the season. His last start was a no-decision in Pittsburgh’s 2-1 loss against the Cardinals last Friday in St. Louis. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound righthander has struck out a total of 27 batters this season and his WHIP is at 1.16. The game will be on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The time of the game was 2:35 and 16,527 were in the seats at PNC Park…Coming into Wednesday’s contest, Gregory Polanco led the team in stolen bases with eight and was tied for third among the leaders in the National League with the Giants’ Nori Aoki…While the team has hit a total of 43 doubles, Andrew McCutchen has the team’s only triple this season.